Live Blogging/Social Reporting – a new digital skill.

New Optimist Forum Future Foods event 11th June 2012

Earlier this week Max, Nick and I went to the New Optimists Forum – Future Foods, We’re were there in a professional capacity Social Reporting from the evening to get an overview of the event online as it happened. This was Max’s first outing as a social reporter and talking to him afterwards reminded me how tiring I found it when I first started live blogging events. So I asked him afterwards what 3 tips we could have given him before we went into the session to make it easier.

These were his responses;

1. Don’t be complacent.

Max thought it was going to be easier than it actually was and didn’t expect to be quite so tired afterwards – It’s not an easy thing trying to record what is going on, keeping track of the sometimes multiple conversation and listening for a perfect sound bite to capture on camera.

2. Make sure your laptop is not too big.

Turning up with all the tools you’d need for a social reporting job as a *mobile” social reporter is easier if you have a lighter laptop. We had audio recorders, flip cameras, a stills camera and our laptops with us – spare batteries, spare chargers and a mi-fi – lugging that around can be tiring.

3. Don’t delete anything.

Max admitted afterwards that the thing he found hardest was listening and picking out the “best” bits. He said he would start writing something and then something else interested would start to be discussed so he’s scrap it and start again. He realised he could have just kept it all. He could have bullet pointed all interesting points and not worried about going into too much detail – if he’d wanted to elaborate further he could have grabbed the attendees for a video clip, getting them to reiterate the relevant points they’d made.

Social reporting is all about getting a flavour of an event, an overview of proceedings not precise minutes – it can be used at all kinds of events from large conferences to smaller neighbourhood meetings and everything in between.

It’s a skill we are employed to use often and it is also a skill we teach in our aptly named “Social Reporter Training” packages where we look at the tools to use and the “how to” of social reporting and while we already teach “Don’t delete anything” I think I’ll be adding the rest of Max’s tips  into the next session we host.




  1. Lorna Prescott says:

    Thanks for sharing this Steph, I think I’ve learned these things too through experience, having been trained by Podnosh. If I were to add a tip for someone getting a little more experienced it would be to look up and save weblinks to key people (e.g. speakers) and organisations involved in whatever you are reporting on. As I am often involved in facilitating my own events and at others, I struggle to report from them. So having advance access to the plans and hashtag for an event I was helping at last week, I actually set up scheduled tweets to share weblinks – which took pressure off on the day. And it took less that 20 mins to Storify straight afterwards:

    • Steph Jennings says:

      Great tip there. I always try to find some background information and useful links to have open on my laptop too!

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